Saturday, August 13, 2011

Raspberry Tartlets

I posted a couple of years ago a recipe for a gluten-free raspberry tart. This is still a great recipe, but I found that I wanted to make individual tartlets instead of one big tart because gluten-free tart crust is so crumbly.

I kind of winged it in terms of amounts of things, but thought it would help to be a little more precise about how much tart dough and filling are required when converting the recipe into tartlets.

I discovered that 2-2.5 oz of tart dough per 4-inch tartlet pan is just the right amount to cover the pan nicely without too much stress over pressing it super-thin. A double batch of the GF tart crust recipe I used before is ideal. You'll end up with about a dozen tartlets. I only needed 8 for family dinner, but none of us complained about the extras. You could always freeze extra pre-baked shells.

A double batch of filling for a dozen tartlets is also the right way to go. You might end up with a little more filling in each tart, but I think that's a good thing. I upped the sweetening a little in the filling, as I find the GF tart crust to be ever-so-slightly bitter.

Don't skimp on the raspberries, either. I would increase the expected amount from 4 cups to 6 cups just to be really decadent about it.

Makes 12 tartlets

GLUTEN-FREE TART CRUST

RICE FLOUR MIX: 2 c. brown rice flour, 2/3 c. potato starch, 1/3 c. tapioca

CRUST INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c. rice flour mix
1 1/2 c. ground almonds (almond meal)
2/3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp salt
scant 1 tsp xanthan gum
8 oz. (1/2 lb, 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS
  1. Pulse dry ingredients in a food processor briefly
  2. Add the cold, cubed butter to the food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarse with lumps the size of peas
  3. While the processor is running, add the beaten egg. Mix just until the dough comes together
  4. Pat the dough into your tartlet pans and prick it all over with a fork
  5. Freeze for half an hour
  6. While the dough is cooling, preheat the oven to 350F
  7. Place the tart pans on a baking tray (for convenience) and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes)
  8. Remove tart crusts from oven and cool. Proceed with raspberry tart recipe
RASPBERRY FILLING

INGREDIENTS
4-6 c. raspberries, halved (it's okay for 2-3 c. of the raspberries to have been frozen, but do thaw them first. You really need fresh raspberries for the topping, though)
1 c. crème fraîche (well-strained whole milk yogurt works very well, too)
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 c. ground almonds (almond meal)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cover the bottom of your par-baked tartlet crusts with 2-3 cups of raspberries (fresh or previously-frozen)
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients
  4. Pour over the raspberries in the tart crust
  5. Bake until the custard is set (puffed and golden), about 15-20 minutes (can't remember exactly how long it took them to cook, so start checking at 15 and don't panic if it takes longer than 20 minutes. Full-size tart is supposed to take 35 minutes)
  6. Remove from the oven and cool completely (I like this tart best cold)
  7. Just before serving, heap the remaining 2-3 cups fresh raspberries on top of the tartlets

Safe-for-School Granola Bars

Elspeth's preschool, like so many these days, is nut-free. Since nuts are my favorite go-to source of nutrition in nearly any situation, it can be a bit of a challenge to make sure that Elspeth gets enough of a balance in her lunches. Enter these granola bars. I tried many different baked and unbaked variations before I finally hit on these. This recipe from PCC (Puget Consumers Co-Op) "Taste" newsletter had the most potential. Before we wanted to pack them for school, I had made them with Trader Joe's Tempting Trail Mix, my very favorite trail mix ever. Even then, I liked the bars but didn't love them.

Much to my surprise, the use of sunflower butter and chocolate-covered, candy-coated sunflower seeds in place of the peanut butter and trail mix resulted in a superior bar. These bars are dangerously more-ish. They're hardly health food, but as a snack/dessert goes, I think they're a great one to have in the repertoire.

Though it uses more sweetener than I'd prefer, Trader Joe's fat free Blueberry Muesli is perfect for this recipe. (You'd think I was being paid by TJ, but alas, no, I just like many of their products). To cut the sweetness, I still use plain quick-cooking oats.

INGREDIENTS
1 c. quick-cooking oats
2 c. Trader Joe's blueberry muesli or other muesli
1 1/2 c. dried tart cherries
1/2 c. candy-coated chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp salt
Other mix-ins as desired such as grated coconut or mini chocolate chips
1/3 c. brown rice syrup
1/4 c. honey
2 TBSP oil
1 c. sunflower butter

DIRECTIONS
  1. Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan with oil or non-stick cooking spray
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl--kids are great helpers with this as long as they don't eat all the goodies
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the brown rice syrup and honey to a low boil for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add the oil and sunflower butter and mix thoroughly until it is as smooth as you can make it
  5. Pour the warm mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well. You might want to get your hands in there to help mix
  6. Press the mixture into your pan and let cool
  7. While PCC Taste recommends flipping the bars out to cut them, I find them too crumbly for this. Instead, I cut them into 1 inch squares (or thereabouts) and serve them from the pan
  8. Keep the leftovers covered. If it's very warm in your house, I recommend keeping the bars in the fridge as the sunflower butter can get pretty melty and sticky otherwise

Chocolate Ganache

It's Elspeth's birthday coming up and she has requested a chocolate cake. I can't remember now what I made for her third birthday (terrible mother that I am), but I know I made chocolate zucchini bread in a Bundt pan for her 2nd birthday. For her 4th birthday, I'm going to do it in a 9x13 pan and add some chocolate frosting, at her request.

My friend Valerie inspired another family favorite dessert, a type of parfait that layers chocolate cake with tart cherries, whipped cream, and chocolate ganache and accented with slivered almonds. I thought the ganache would be a great, easy frosting for my buttercream-hating daughter and should also work well for the rocket ship stencil I plan to attempt. (The rocket will be done in rainbow sprinkles). The zucchini cake already uses chocolate chips, so I can just use the rest of the package in the ganache.

Valerie really likes the Joy of Cooking (I'm more of a Fannie Farmer girl myself), so I use their recipe in her honor. It's also a good one. Valerie is the one that tipped me off that I could use chocolate chips for this. I like Trader Joe's semisweet ones.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 c heavy cream
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 TBSP liqueur (optional--might be good for texture, but I never use it)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan big enough to add the chocolate
  2. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate is nearly all melted
  3. Cover mixture and let sit for 10 minutes
  4. Stir the mixture until very smooth
  5. Stir in liqueur if using
  6. If using for frosting, let sit until spreadable, then use as desired. This can also be used as a pouring glaze. If doing that, don't let it sit so long before using
Keeps in the fridge for up to a week or can be frozen. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.